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Photo credit: ms.akr / Foter / CC BY
  • (worth a detour)
  • Easy
  • Average
  • full day
  • 2 2

The oasis of America

Most sand boarding tours cost 40 soles per person including pickup at hostel, buggy ride to the dunes and all equipment needed

Huacachina is a small village located five kilometers away from the city of Ica and built around a lake in the middle of the Peruvian desert known as “the oasis of America”. It is commonly visited by Peruvians during weekend and it has become a popular tourist destination due to the massive sand dunes, the buggy rides and sand boarding. (Tip: If you’re looking for a less crowded place to do sand boarding in Peru, head to Cerro Blanco, the tallest sand dune in the world).


The most popular legend in the area talks about a Peruvian princess called Huacay China who fell in love with a warrior and after they got married, he was forced to go to war and died. Huacay China cried for days on end at the site where she and the warrior had first met and the lagoon was formed by her tears. One day, a young warrior spotted her next to the lagoon and out of fear, the princess jumped into the water and stayed there until the warrior left. When she tried to get out of the water, she realized her legs were gone and turned into a tail. It is believed that every night during new moon, she comes out of the water to cry for the lost of her beloved warrior.


Another legend talks about a princess who lost her loved one during the war and similarly to the other legend, she headed to the spot where she had met him to grieve until she was spotted by another warrior there. The princess was carrying and mirror and she noticed the warrior looking at her through the glass. When the warrior tried to get close to her, she began running to escape and dropped the mirror, from where the lagoon arose. Her dress fell off as well and turned into the dunes we see to date. Finally, she jumped into the lagoon and turned into a mermaid.

How to get there

Take a bus to Ica and from there, a taxi that should cost you no more than 8 soles